- Adnan Januzaj scored in his first Premier League start since February
- David de Gea was not included in Manchester United’s team
- Manchester United has not lost a PL match at Villa Park since 1995
Manchester United’s dominance over Aston Villa continued tonight, as Adnan Januzaj’s first half strike was enough to earn the Red Devils all three points at Villa Park. United has won more games against Villa than any side has against a single opponent in Premier League history, as they now sit alone at the top of the table heading into the weekend.
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Almost all of Manchester United’s attack was going up the left wing to start the match, with Luke Shaw constantly getting forward to join Memphis Depay, who was playing out wide with Adnan Januzaj in a more central role. It was Januzaj’s first start for United since February, and Louis van Gaal looked like a genius as the 20-year-old Belgian opened the scoring in the 29th minute.
Juan Mata controlled the ball on the left and threaded the needle to Januzaj with a brilliant pass through the Villa defense. Januzaj cut back past Micah Richards and his shot took a deflection past Brad Guzan, giving the Red Devils a 1-0 lead.
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Despite United controlling most of the possession, Aston Villa should have gotten a chance to draw level with a valid shout for a penalty. Off a corner kick, Micah Richards went up for a header but was clearly being held back by Matteo Darmian, who had both of his hands up around the neck of the Villa captain. However, referee Mike Dean said play on as the first half ended 1-0 in favor of United.
Coming out of the break, Aston Villa looked the better side as Tim Sherwood’s men pushed for an equalizer. United was pinned inside their own half as they struggled to cope with the Villans high energy, forcing Louis van Gaal to make some early substitutions. In the 60th minute, Ander Hererra and Bastian Schweinsteiger came in as defensive reinforcements, replacing Michael Carrick and the goalscorer Adnan Januzaj.
Once the changes were made, United regained control of the match and slowed down the pace of the Villa attack. Memphis Depay nearly made it 2-0 after Juan Mata played another brilliant ball through, but the Dutchman’s shot curled just wide of the far post.
Villa tried to find a late goal to steal a point, but it wasn’t enough as United held on for the win.Follow @KyleLynchFC